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TMS in hip in late pregnancy

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by Anna1, Aug 30, 2017.

  1. Anna1

    Anna1 Peer Supporter

    Hello everyone,

    After beating TMS big time twice - once after years of fibromyalgia and last year after a whiplash - I now have severe pain in my right hip in the latest stage of pregnancy. I am almost 35 weeks pregnant. The pain started last week. Last week I went to a physiotherapist for the second half of a short pregnancy course. I told her I sometimes have pain in my groin / hip at night. She said this was a typical pregnancy complaint and voila, there was the TMS - back! It suddenly became worse every day.

    I looked on the wiki and found a thread about a woman with the same complaints. This confirmed my suspicion it is TMS. After replying to the thread the pain was gone completely. Obvious sign! But then it came back. I have been using my usual TMS strategy that ALWAYS works quickly. But this time it is a bit more persistant. I am convinced it's TMS, but I have to work hard not to worry. The pain is debilitating. I feel it with almost everything I do and it obstructs my normal movement. I consciously do everything I want to do and that I am used to do. Although I am careful with lifting heavy things because of the pregnancy of course...

    I know that I have fear. In my life almost nothing has been easy. I have fought hard for many things. And my life is really really good now. The pregnancy has been without problems, without pain. The baby is doing amazingly well and I became pregnant a month after we decided we would go for it.

    I know that I am scared that something bad will happen, because I am not used to this ease in my life. My mother had a still born child before me at 8 months. This is around the stage I am at right now. This has been on my mind, and I ended up in the hospital last Saturday because I didn't feel the baby move like I am used to. It was a standard extra check - nothing extreme - but it was intense of course. Everything was more than fine, thank god. I am focusing on the emotions and not on the pain, but it's hard to ignore this severe sharp pain.

    Any thoughts? I could use some support!

    Thanks in advance ;-)
  2. fern

    fern Well known member

    I only recently learned about TMS, but I'm not new to TMS pain - or to hip/groin pain in pregnancy! I'm also a trained (but not practiced - yet!) doula, so pregnancy/childbirth is something I research and talk about a lot. I hope something I offer here helps!

    You know your body best, and you may already know all this stuff, but I think hip/groin pain in late pregnancy is generally a common *physical* phenomenon - even when it's intermittent. The relaxin is really coursing through your bloodstream at this point, getting your pelvis ready to shift and move as the baby moves through the birth canal. That can lead to sore joints (either intermittently or constantly) - especially those that have pressure on them from the added weight (e.g. feet, hips, and pubis/groin). My feet grew 1/2 size from pregnancy and never shrank back, thanks to the added weight of pregnancy and the pressure it put on the relaxin-loosed joints in my feet (and if TMS can cause people to make their feet grow, then the mind really is more powerful than we've ever imagined!). And my hips and groin hurt. My hips particularly hurt after a night of sleep because I was stuck on my side, and my groin hurt if I stood/walked/climbed stairs a lot during the day. I think at 35 weeks, you're bound to need to move a little different, take it a little easier (although you should still be walking, doing prenatal yoga, whatever keeps your body limber and fit for labor), and baby your joints a little bit.

    I didn't experience debilitating pain, so if that is a concern for you, I think it makes good sense to ask the doctor. In the likely event that he/she says that your body is healthy, then I DO think that dealing with the pain of pregnancy and labor is kind of like dealing with TMS. Some of the ideas definitely apply. I DON'T think you need to just do all the things you normally do at the level you would normally do them, like someone with chronic shoulder pain might. You're allowed to begin taking things easier and going gentler on your body (again, as long as you don't glue yourself to the couch all day). But part of getting ready for labor (and managing the discomfort of late pregnancy), is learning how to not fear pain. That's where a lot of the TMS education comes in handy. I didn't know about TMS when I was in labor, but I know now that I used a lot of the techniques here in order to keep on top of the pain.

    And, of course, fear of the pain in your hips and groin may well make it feel worse. If distraction and emotional release can lessen the pain, that IS a good sign that, while the pain may have a physical origin, it doesn't necessarily have to be as bad as it is. And it's certainly possible that your concerns about childbirth (which are understandable, given your mom's experience and story) are making what might be a mild, no-big-deal pain into a much sharper, scarier one than it needs to be. Using TMS techniques may well reduce (but not necessarily eliminate) the pain no matter why you're having it.

    So, even as you accept that the pain is very likely physical (though not dangerous), and even as you begin to let yourself relax a bit more and go a little easier on your body, you can still:
    -Practice outcome independence
    -Sit with the pain and practice breathing techniques that relax your body into the pain (which is great practice for labor)
    -Look for joy/sensation in other parts of your body even while the pain is strong so your brain isn't living entirely in your hips anymore
    -Feel your emotions around childbirth and the fear that you have about being at this stage of pregnancy
    -Do some journaling and write unsent letters to your mom and your baby
    -Practice mindfulness meditation
    -Do some gentle prenatal yoga (if you're not already, and if your doctor is fine with it) to 1) ease some of the physical pain in your hips AND 2) help you learn to trust your body
    -Practice gratitude toward your body for sustaining this little new life and tell it how strong it is and how proud you are of it, all the time - especially when you're feeling pain.

    (These are all things I would have suggested to a pregnant woman even before I learned about TMS, because so much of managing labor and pregnancy pain is similar to what I understand TMS techniques to be! And I know many of the above techniques helped me.)

    If you don't have a doula yet, you might want to consider working with one. Since you have some extra fears around pregnancy/childbirth, a doula could really help you work through some of those fears and not let them dominate these last few weeks of pregnancy and then childbirth. I am happy to PM you and chat about how to find a good doula and talk about what it's like to work with one!

    Hopefully I didn't just tell you a bunch of stuff you already knew. I think the summary is that the pain is likely physical but NOT dangerous (esp. if your doctor agrees), and that TMS techniques can still help - but it is OK to start going easier on your body at this point in your pregnancy. I don't think you have to worry about it derailing the rest of the TMS techniques you use if you start taking it easier on your body, since this is kind of a hybrid physical/psychological situation.

    I'm thinking of you and what a mix of emotions this part of your pregnancy must be for you! So much joy to come, so many tiny baby kicks in your belly and sweet looks from passers-by, and so much nervous wondering what is happening in there in the dark and what is to come! Sending lots of brave, magical mama vibes your way.
    plum, Anna1 and Lily Rose like this.
  3. Anna1

    Anna1 Peer Supporter

    Dear Fern, thank you so so much for your long, balanced and considerate reply! I was struggling yesterday with finding a way to approach this in a realistic way and just woke up from it (it's the middle of the night here) I know that hip pain is very common in this stage of pregnancy, but I feared to acknowledge that, because a physical explanation goes against TMS strategy. Sarno's techniques have only worked for me when I would go 100% for it.

    But indeed, I also feel that my body needs gentleness, not (to talk with Sarno) " the most strenuous physical activity" at this stage of pregnancy. I have listened to my body carefully through the pregnancy. Although I really like to work out, I have mainly walked, swam and done prenatal yoga since the second trimester. Nothing more strenuous than that. And as we have been redecorating and reorganizing the house, I have been quite active the past 1,5 months, and done not much more than prenatal yoga apart from cleaning out and reorganizing.

    I didn't know about the outcome independency. I love it! I will definitely practice that. I can live with the pain if I need to, for the rest of the pregnancy. My fear is more about after the birth. Is you experience that the pain lifts afterwards? My feet are definitely swollen too. As are my hands. But I know this is common with pregnancy.

    The rest of what you advice I already do. But it's good to have it in writing as a reminder of all the aspects of this.

    A doula I have tried to find, but couldn't really find anyone that was in the right area and spoke to me. It is relatively new here. I think I am quite comfortable with the support I have now and although it's very exciting to give birth, and I feel some tension around it, I mainly look forward to this huge event of giving birth and have a lot of faith in my body and mind.

    I will try to go back to sleep now, and will PM you tomorrow. It was so nice to find your message in the middle of the night! Thank you.

    PS: while writing this last sentence the baby woke up and started to move. This is the most wondrous incredible thing to feel. I have been flooded with gratitude and happiness from this miracle growing in me...
  4. fern

    fern Well known member

    Oh those sweet baby movements and kicks! It's the only thing I miss about pregnancy. :) Enjoy that beautiful mystery, mama!

    I don't exactly remember how long it took the hip pain to stop postpartum, but I think it was super fast. Like almost overnight. But my memories of that time are so blurred by sleep deprivation that I'm not completely sure! I can at least say for sure that hip pain was not a noteworthy part of my postpartum period.

    But I would be lying if I said that there isn't other soreness for a while afterward. Pretty much the whole pelvis and all the soft tissues within it are quite sore in the week or two after labor. But within a few days, you can tell that the pain is moving steadily in the direction of healing. Being willing to trust that and relax into it will be important.

    It may be helpful to know that, while the tissues are healthy long before then, it can take two years before the pelvis and its connective tissues are completely settled after childbirth. You may feel occasional twinges in your groin and pubis when you do certain unilateral movements (like pushing a heavy box across the floor with one foot, or certain yoga poses). That doesn't mean anything is wrong, and it doesn't have to settle into TMS either. Those twinges are not something to worry about, although I did take it as a sign not to place any extreme unilateral pressure on my pelvis until the twinges went away completely - and they did.

    I wish I had known about TMS techniques during the postpartum period. I won't go into my own details here, but I let a decades-old TMS issue in my pelvic floor settle right in after birth, and I'm still working to come back from that. You're ahead of the curve for sure since you know about these techniques and have practiced them before. It is tough since there is clear physical damage after labor and you have to take it easy and let your tissues heal, but the difference is trusting that you are not broken. I think that's the important place where postpartum physical damage and TMS pain overlap - even though the cause is clearly physical, trusting that you're not permanently broken and that your tissues can heal is the way to let the physical damage heal itself without turning into TMS, even as you rest the tissues and recognize that they need time to recover from damage.

    This thread is inspiring me to incorporate TMS education into my doula work when I get back to it. You've brought up some really important things that a lot of women struggle with - the difference is that most of them have never heard of TMS and don't know what to do about it! Thank you for sharing your story so that other women can benefit from it on here.
    MindBodyPT, Ellen and plum like this.
  5. Anna1

    Anna1 Peer Supporter

    Thanks again Fern! I have made some progress. Friday I took loads of rest. Everytime I saw something in the house that needed to be done, I stopped myself. I did my yoga, with the outcome independence in mind. I made a walk with the outcome independence in mind. The pain continued and increased. I started the Alan Gordon Recovery Program, week zero. Amazing!! I had never needed it before to beat the pain, but I decided to do it because the pain is so persistent this time. It was very useful to read once more about how important it is to break the pain-cycle. And to focus on the evidence that it's tms.

    - The first time I wrote on the TMS wiki about this pain, the pain went away
    - The pain became worse when a professional confirmed something physical was going on to cause it, which made me believe it was structural and physical

    And today the pain shifted slightly up in my lower back, and more to the center!!! The symptom imperative!! This happened after I started repeating "this is false pain, my body is healthy and strong" whenever my mind tends to focus on the pain. Also, during my yoga practice today I felt fear coming up and decided to feel it and breathe through it.

    Hurray!!! The first steps.

    Later in the day the pain lessened somewhat. Less sharp. Less excruciating. Let's say, from a 10 to a 8,5 We had a family gathering. The distraction helped, too.

    So... I'm very happy once more to KNOW and being able to ACCEPT the diagnosis.

    And thank you for reassuring me about after the birth!!!
  6. MindBodyPT

    MindBodyPT Beloved Grand Eagle

    I love reading this thread, it is very reassuring to me! I now consider myself to have deeply rooted TMS beliefs but this is still all so helpful. I'm also pregnant but only 15 weeks so no issues yet, and I don't want to let myself be nocebo'ed into getting TMS pain! Its tricky because clearly the body goes through so many changes and some sensations are inevitable. So many other pregnant women and doctors have asked me if i'm having pelvic pain or ligament pain, i'm trying to sort of drown it all out. I've been telling myself that the body changes do not equal pain. But I hate that it is a default assumption that pregnant women will get some kind of pain. Also trying to tell myself that things will not be "damaged" after birth but merely that it is a natural process that i'll heal from.

    And Anna, glad to hear you are feeling a little better from your pain!

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